Darlene Carchedi, known as Mama D, puts on make-up in her tent. Carchedi, a community leader in the camp, said that officials clean up homeless encampments and throw people's things out, the trauma of being homeless repeats itself. "You feel that total loss, trauma, every single time."

Madison Street

Photographed for The Arizona Republic's homelessness coverage.

As the housing and homelessness crisis in Phoenix, Arizona has proliferated - driven by an increasingly unaffordable housing market, gaps in social, mental health and addiction treatment services, and recently, the pandemic's restrictions on shelter services - a growing encampment of 400 people has formed around Central Arizona Shelter Services in an industrial section of the city. The City of Phoenix has, at best, struggled to address the issues plaguing the unhoused throughout the city and the camp. This project examines some of these issues, as well as life and community on Madison Street through the lens of camp mom Darlene Carchedi and others.

A woman, who preferred to remain unnamed, holds some of her belongings during a clean-up on a cold February morning. The city conducts weekly "clean-ups" that begin in the early hours of the morning.

Phoenix police, a common presence in the encampment, stand by during a clean-up. Many people on Madison Street say the police routinely and violently harass and mistreat them.

City of Phoenix employees move someone's tent to be thrown out during a clean-up.

Leroy Phillips escapes the summer heat in the shade of his tent in one of the new socially distanced parking lot encampments made for safer living conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Temperatures that day reached 106 degrees.

Central Arizona Shelter Services CEO Lisa Glow discusses issues affecting senior citizens experiencing homelessness in an office a block away from the encampment.

Darlene gets emotional as she hugs a woman who promised her a housing opportunity. The woman did not show up again, so Darlene ultimately did not get to move in.

Darlene bikes to dinner at the Andre House, a service provider in the area that feeds hundreds of unhoused people.

Darlene and a friend charge their phones inside the Andre House.

Clean-up after a meal at the Andre House.

Darlene washes up outside the Andre House. Their sink is her go-to place to clean up after showers are closed.

An umbrella shades someone's wheelchair at a socially distanced parking lot designated for people experiencing homelessness to camp safely in during the pandemic.

Two water jugs, both almost empty, sit in Enrique Troche's wheelchair as he walks to the nearby Andre House to sit in the shade outside the Human Services Campus. The excruciatingly hot summers in Arizona are quite dangerous and potentially fatal for people forced to live outside.

Rusty Williams wears a mask outside the Human Services Campus.

City of Phoenix workers conduct a cleaning at the encampment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Enrique Troche and Lisa "Jersey" Kelly sit talking as the sun sets over Madison Street. Troche has experienced homelessness for three months, while Kelly has been in and out of homelessness for 40 years. The two have become friends and enjoy relaxing together.

Using Format